Four Articles About Coping With A Pandemic That Have Nothing To Do With Medicine

Covid-19 has raged, lulled and raged again for the better part of the last two years. The way we have all coped has been varied. Where we go, who we see, and how we make money have all changed. Here are five outstanding articles about how different people have adjusted in the pandemic. 

From Travel to Virtual: How We Pivoted in The Pandemic Era

Devon Hauth’s story tells how her company Moniker pivoted from planning corporate retreats to virtual events. The company that once planned events in Cancun, now offers team-building games like an online murder mystery.

3 Innovative Ways Restaurants Responded to the pandemic That are Here to Stay

Ron Blum an Associate Professor at JWU, wrote about three major changes in the pandemic forced on restaurants. Robotics, QR Codes, and delivery. A lot has changed, and some of those changes may be here forever. 

How COVID has transformed the death care industry for ‘last responders’

Reporter Kat Eschner explains how the pandemic increased cremations and lowered the number, size, and scope of funerals. 2020 had 20% more deaths than in 2019 funeral homes earned 20% to 30% less money.

6 ways the pandemic has changed businesses

In an article Victoria Masterson of Formative Content explained how the pandemic has amplified existing challenges in education for lower-income students and how remote and online learning are here to stay.

A Bacterium Survived In Space For A Full Year

Researchers have studied Deinococcus radiodurans — a species of bacterium first found in a can of meat — for some time. These microbes were left on a special platform outside the Pressurised module of the ISS for one year. The Bacterium amazingly survived in space’s evacuee with UV radiation and huge temperature fluctuations.

So, after the year outside, the researchers got the bacterium back on Earth, to compare it with both a control that spent a year on Earth and one that spend 3565 days in Low Earth Orbit.

According to ScienceAlert

“This kind of study helps us understand whether bacteria could survive other worlds, and maybe even the journey between them, which will become more and more important as we humans and the germs we bring with us begin to travel farther than our Moon into the Solar System, and one day maybe even beyond.”

CR Codes, Masks, And Hand Sanitizer are the MVPs of 2020

COVID-19 has hit travel and hospitality harder than most industries, and that is saying something. In the U.S. we’re now nearly nine months into the pandemic, without an end imminently in sight. And in a touch less world, some fairly gimmicky tech now has a use.

“Venture outside and you’ll soon see them. Printed on posters and signs, pasted on pub walls and hotel lobbies, sellotaped to picnic tables in beer gardens: QR codes.” So says Wired UK.

It seems true, for the first time QR codes are useful, QR codes are finally good user experience. The Quick Response Codes, previously where mostly a gimmick, for something the “Wikipedia town“, the main use for the codes are to track parts, to be a bar code. But now along with masks, and hand sanitizer they let us resume some level of normal life.

Being able to sit down at a restaurant is moral boosting to say the least. And people sitting down at restaurants is needed to save the struggling hospitality industry. Don’t believe me listen to this Market Watch interview.

New Human Organ Discovered in the Throat

Well, Scientists have discovered a human new organ, in the form of a set of salivary glands. These glands found in the back of upper throat. 

According to The journal Radiotherapy and Oncology.

This nasopharynx region — behind the nose — was not thought to host anything but microscopic, diffuse, salivary glands; but the newly discovered set are about 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) in length on average. Because of their location over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius, the discoverers of these new glands have dubbed them the tubarial salivary glands. The glands probably lubricate and moisten the upper throat behind the nose and mouth.

The accidental discovery happened when Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute used the combination of CT scans + positron emission tomography (PET) scans to study prostate cancer.

According to Live Science

 In PSMA PET-CT scanning, doctors inject a radioactive “tracer” into the patient. This tracer binds well to the protein PSMA, which is elevated in prostate cancer cells. Clinical trials have found that PSMA PET-CT scanning is better than conventional imaging at detecting metastasized prostate cancer.

This discovery may mean fewer side effects for cancer patients. Because no one knew these tubarial salivary glands existed, no one avoided them in radiation treatments. An analysis of 700 cancer patients treated at the University Medical Center Groningen found the more radiation patients received to the unknown glands, the more side effects they reported.

“Our next step is to find out how we can best spare these new glands and in which patients” say the research team.

This could also be a longevity breakthrough, as these previously unknown organs may mean better medical care. A better understanding of inflation, and how therapies like IV nutrition could help treat even common ailments.

Until now, there were only three known large salivary glands in humans. Under the tongue. Under the jaw. And at the back of the jaw, near the cheeks. Thousand microscopic salivary glands found in the mucosal tissue of the human mouth, and through, but they are all microscopic. The newly discovered set are about 1.5 inches long.

Botox Isn’t Just About Facelifts?

We’ve all heard of Botox, the neurotoxic protein derived from bacteria that helps celebrities look young forever. But Allergan, Inc., the global pharmaceutical company that owns Botox is out to brand the company for more than just aesthetics.

Today Allergan announced a new loyalty reward program that will “help” the company contribute “up to a total of $500,000 to foundations that help children across the country”. While 500k from a company like Alergan is not much, it will help a good cause. And Frankly my dear, Botox, has a wide variety of uses that impact health.

Botox injections can be an effective treatment for migraines, But the way Botox prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction, means the treatment can potentially help a number of neurological conditions. This is why it makes a degree of since for Allergan to pledge support for “children and their caregivers seeking advancement in pediatric neurological care”

The entire pledge, while not much does allow people who would have otherwise gone to a random Botox provider to help children with very real conditions. From the press release:

“Many people are familiar with the uses for BOTOX® Cosmetic, however most are not familiar with all the therapeutic uses of BOTOX®, particularly for children suffering with upper limb spasticity. Through the Be the Difference program, consumers who get treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic will support Foundations that help children,” 

Read more at Biospace

More AI Coming To Healthcare

Writing for Psychology Today James Lake gave an overview of advances in AI that will impact how mental health care is practiced in clinical settings. He says the result positive, with more individualized treatment and a mix of conventional and evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities.

The key points are that AI will allow medical professionals to, Quickly extract useful information from medical data sets that were previously difficult to access due to time restrictions. To reliably access up-to-date information on a wide range of Western medical and CAM modalities. And with AI tools receive a guide in identifying optimal treatment protocols, for many common mental health problems.

We are seeing AI use in many life saving ways, RiskCardio may help with the diagnosis and treatment of heart confessions. When it comes to radiology we have no shortage of new AI tech. VIDA Diagnostics will be avalable to help more doctors and radiologist help more patients diagnose lung disease and the FDA cleared tech to quickly spot collapsed lungs.

In psychology we’ve seen a huge push by Amen Clinics to use brain imaging. Raising the question, when will we combine brain imaging and AI to help with mental health treatment.

Playing Hide And Seek With AI And Privacy

An AI Learns To Play Hide And Seek, Humans Learn to Seek Bots, And Google Is Recording Us Again

OpenAI released their new project on September 17th. It’s an AI that played over 500 million games of hide and seek. It learned to develop complex strategies and use tools. It even found flaws in the environment the programs created.

The researchers built an environment with various objects inside a limited virtual space. The characters were incentivized to hide or seek, and to explore. The video below explains.

Humans are doing some cool things with AI, but we are still not always able to spot even rudimentary bots online. Tools like Botometer help with labeling Twitter users as a human or bot, but people are still bad at that task. A task made harder becasue many people, look like bots, or want to be anonymous.

Some fake accounts are run by real people to prop up numbers of shares, or follows. They can be more malicious and be used for stock pump and dumps, or just phishing schemes. Other times people just want a little privacy.

Privacy is something Google claims they have as a focus. So they changed Google Assistant, voice recording review. So that they will still be reviewed by humans, but now users will have to optin. From the linked post:

The company says they will now only store the audio of consumers who opt in to a “Voice & Audio Activity” option when setting up Google Assistant. Google says they are also being more transparent about the collection. In the past the setting didn’t make it clear recordings would be accessible by humans. Google is updating their user interface, and is asking existing users to reconfirm that they agree to human audio reviews.

AI may save your life one day. But it could also be the death of us all. I’m not an expert, but we should consider improving our ability to be more human before we start down the road of creating a new creature, with a mind we don’t understand, who could have access to everything any of us say in the presents of our phones.

AI May Soon Save Your Life

Researchers at MIT have developed an AI called RiskCardio. They say the AI is able to estimate a patient’s risk of cardiovascular death after a 15-minute ECG reading. Scientists trained the AI with data from past patient outcomes.

If a patient survived, their heartbeats are call normal; if a patient died, their activity was dubbed high risk. RiskCardio judges risk from a sample consecutive heartbeats. When data is captured within 15 minutes of a cardiac event, the AI can determine whether or not someone will die within 30 days. The full story here.

But that’s not the only big AI in health care news I found. The FDA cleared an AI-powered mobile X-ray device. The AI can prioritize critical cases for a collapsed lung and prioritizes the human review of the X-Ray. Sometimes, right now it can take up to eight hours for a human to review even an x-ray marked urgent.

The hope is AI will offer automated quality checks and hopefully detect errors in the way the x-ray is taken before it is sent to radiologists. Full story here.

Oh and Google will help Mayo Clinic build a digital strategy. Part of that strategic roadmap is setting up to use, AI tools for medical research of complex diseases.

“Health care is one of the most important fields that technology will help transform over the next decade, and it’s a major area of investment for Google,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. Full story here

I mean it when I say AI, may soon save your life.

Stories by Internet News Flash – ZDNet & Star Tribune

Tom DeLonge Of Blink-182 leaked UFO Videos Say The U.S. Navy

We don’t live in reality. Time is fractured and Chris Evans needs to put the infinity stones back. After Tom DeLonge from Blink-182 became the frontman of Stars Academy of Arts and Science we knew that reality was a little off, but now the U.S. Navy is demanding answers after videos the department confirmed are real were leaked by Delonge. 

“The Navy considers the phenomena contained/depicted in these videos as unidentified,” an official spokesperson for Naval Operations for Information Warfare reportedly told the Black Vault

The first video was released originally by the New York Times in 2017 reporting on the Pentagon’s mysterious UFO program. Some Navy pilots recorded video of an oblong object seemingly floating with their off the coast of San Diego in 2004.  

The second video called “Gimbal” was caught on camera on Jan. 21, 2015, the date came out as a result of The Black Vaults’ request for information. This video also shows U.S. Navy pilots trying to figure out what they are seeing. 

The third video by To the Stars Academy called “GoFast” was also recorded on Jan. 21, 2015, prompting some to think it’s the same object as seen in the Gimbal video.

If you hope to get your mitts on official government reports of UFO sightings, don’t hold your breath. The Navy told Vice News, the reports would be considered classified information, and “no release of information to the general public is expected.” 

We live in strange times.

Scientists Have A Plan To Build A Lift To The Moon

It’s not exactly a “Stairway to Heaven,” yet researchers have thought of what gives off an impression of being a possible way to manufacture a lift to the Moon. Or then again, more precisely, a Spaceline from the Moon to the Earth.

In a paper published in late August✎ EditSign, astrophysicists Zephyr Penoyre and Emily Sandson of the University of Cambridge and Columbia University separately, portray a technique for the development of a 322,000 kilometer-long (200,000 miles) link secured to the Moon and dangled crosswise over space into the Earth’s gravitational field.

Before we get into how, we should talk about why we’d need to fabricate a lift to the Moon. The most effortless answer is that it’s amazingly practical. As indicated by a report from Observer, lead creator on the examination Penoyre said the expense of development could be evaluated as being “inside the impulse of one especially persuaded very rich person.”

Full story The Next Web